Random Selection of News: late March, 2007
Those Japanese manga fans out there, there's a little news.
You don't have to wait months for the newest volumes of Japanese manga to come out in your langauge! Unfortunately, this doesn't apply for all the works being published internationally, but just recently publisher Gentosha announced that it will release paperback copies of the works published online on its webmanga site GENZO (Japanese / English). The very first one to be published is Gravitation EX the newest version of the popular series Gravitation, and it is scheduled to come out in seven languages including Japanese, English, German, Spanish, Taiwanese, Italian and Korean.
Again, this is only for the works on GENZO, but once one publisher starts doing this I bet others will start similar projects as the international manga market is steadily growing.
"Ikemen" connects East Asia
I think the whole fad about ikemen started several years ago just about the same time this crazy hanryu boom (Korean boom) swirled up in Japan. And I think this was when the Asia-internationalization of showbiz really started to become part of the mainstream of entertainment in Asian countries.
Ikemen is a Japanese term for "hot guys" which popped up around 2000. The term is coined from the words "iketeru" (modern casual language for "hot", "cool") and the English word "men". Right now the term is used so commonly from daily conversation to titles in magazines and variety shows, even on news sometimes despite it not being "proper" Japanese language.
When the Korean boom started with the import of a number of Korean love romance TV dramas best represented by Winter Sonata starring Bae Yong Joon, a whole lot of other young and handsome Korean actors were introduced to Japan with titles like "Shitennoh (Four Heavenly Kings)".
Chinese ikemen are introduced to Japan many times through movies rather than TV dramas, and Taiwanese as well as Korean ikemen through music activities. I notice that now there are so many musicians who sing songs in Japanese and you never know they're actually not Japanese.
I don't know so much about how Japanese pop stars have been seen in other East Asian countries in the past (I mean, before the trend of ikemen Asianization), but I have been told that Japanese actor Tsubabuki Satoshi and several members from the Johnnys Entertainment - (supposedly) the ikemen talento agency - are really popular in Taiwan right now.
Today the ikemen network (not of the ikemen themselves but of the media and fans) is wider, tightly connected and stronger than when it started. Fans for an ikemen are scattered around East Asia from Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong to Taiwan, and hearing news of Korean, Chinese, Hong Kong or Taiwanese ikemen coming to Japan has become almost regular. One day, so-many-thousands of fans gathered up for a concert in place A, and the next day several hundred fans flood over to an international airport to have a glance of another ikemen. These news were fresh news a few years ago, but now it feels like making oneself famous in the Japanese entertainment industry with his handsomeness is not too different from debuting in the eastern end of the Eurasian continent. Ikemen connects East Asia.
I wonder why handsome men tend to be more featured than beautiful women, though. Are men in these countries not as interested in beautiful women as women are in handsome men?
Today is the last weekday of March so people are kind of busy and some maybe nervous too in this country. As some of you probably know, the school/fiscal year in Japan starts from April and goes till next March. I think by now all schools from kindergarten to universities have finished their graduation ceremonies, and freshers are getting ready for their lives starting in only three days from today. Next Monday the faces on the commuting trains would probably look a lot different, and there would be a lot of new uniforms and business suits walking around. This is also the time of year when you feel like you've grown old :p
If there any of you are regular readers of this blog and of my website, first of all I would like to thank you for sparing time to read my writings (which sometimes aren't even worth calling articles). From next week, you may notice some changes in the blog as well as website, and that is my "seasonal change". I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for reading and leaving comments on this blog (not to say that I am going to stop writing) and for sending e-mails to my website Japan Mode.
Today's update on Japan Mode: Webmanga CHARMY ROP Chapter 13 - Final Episode (to be updated around 18:00, Mar30, JST).